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A mini Falcon review after first smoke.

brandaves

With a great avatar comes great misidentification
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So I got my first Falcon Stem and Bowl in the mail today. I opted for this Hunter all black stem from Amazon because I liked the look of it and free Prime shipping was a good selling point. Although I looked at several options for the bowl and wanted a Meerschaum lined, I opted for this standard dark briar. All of the Meerschaum lined bowls were in the neighborhood of $40 whereas this one could be had for $25. Seeing as I wasn't sure if I would like the system I thought cheap was better.

As far as looks go there isn't anything really special about the stem. It kind of seems cheap (which it is really) but also like it will get the job done (which it does). The bowl was nice, but again not special.

The moisture wicking rings that go beneath the bowl are inexpensive but also feel a bit gimmicky. I'm certain you can smoke comfortably without them...but as I've now got 26 to go through, there is no need. I feel the same about the proprietary pipe cleaners. I didn't even use them on my initial bowl as my BJ Long's worked fine.

Upon initially screwing the bowl to the stem I found some difficulty in properly aligning the threads. I expected the bowl glide on smoothly but I actually had to crank it on a bit. There was a little cringe on my face as I did this...I was very worried about cross threading on my very first bowl! Alas, my fears were unfounded as the bowl did go on fine.
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The smoke itself was very nice. My second bowl of RO Firestorm today and it was cool, dry and took minimal relights. I didn't need to use a pipe cleaner mid smoke, but did anyway because I was curious how the BJ Long pipe cleaners would fair.

After finishing the bowl I dumped the dottle, of which there was very little. Unscrewed the bowl to find a pretty nasty collection reservoir, which I suppose is what you want.
20200924_130000.jpg
The moisture ring was dumped and a pipe cleaner folded in half for the minor housekeeping of wiping out the reservoir. A few more down the stem and a wipe of the bowl was all it took.

Final word. All in I spent about $60 for the stem, bowl, pipe cleaners and moisture rings. Additional bowls range from $20ish to $45ish depending on shapes and Meerschaum linings etc. My first smoke was a good one but whether I purchase more bowls will depend on a few more good bowls I'd say. I'm not blown away, but I'm also not disappointed. My main concern is actually how the threads on the briar will hold up over time. The threading on my radiator bowls is much more smooth. I'd hate to think that I spent $25 on a bowl that will only provide 12 bowls before the threads give way and it's essentially worthless. Only time will tell.
 
I tend to avoid gimmicky stuff. There is a reason that certain "technologies" do not advance beyond a certain point. It's because they have reached their zenith.

We can see this in shaving. Sharp blade glides across skin and cuts hair . . . repeat. Now, you can gussy it up with gel strips, and additional blades, but the "technical aspect" does not change.

I will be interested to follow this, because the very idea of it makes me suspicious of those threads, as well.
 
From what I understand, the moisture rings don't improve the smoke, they just collect the moisture so you don't have more to wipe out. Also, you can twist a pipe cleaner around a pencil or similar and cut it into bits when you run out of rings, instead of buying more.

I like the look of it anyway - I hope you come to enjoy it more. I'm going to go for the Dublin bowl to start with but with the standard stem (as Roger Moore's looked most like that pair up...how pathetic am I?)
 

Mike H

Instagram Famous
Moderator Emeritus
Fair enough . . . as a new pipe smoker, they are alien to me.

I stand corrected.
They are gimmicky in the sense that they’re not traditional, but it’s a proven pipe system is what I was trying to say


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brandaves

With a great avatar comes great misidentification
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It sure how gimmicky it is, considering they’ve been around since 1936.
Sold over 50 million pipes.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
This is a very good point. To be clear though, I was referencing the moisture rings and proprietary pipe cleaners as gimmicky not the system itself.
 

AimlessWanderer

Contributor
Thanks for the review, Brandon. :thumbup:

You said the threads were tight on first use. Are they easy on and off now? As I understand it, the bowl isn't intended to be nipped up tight, necessarily. In fact the whole point of multistart threads (I think this is a five-start), other than reducing the turns, is that they don't lock up like other threads can.

I also understand that the first few bowls on a Falcon can be a bit rough due to the woodstain, which is why I'd probaby look at the hunter and meer bowls if I do end up trying one.
 

brandaves

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Thanks for the review, Brandon. :thumbup:

You said the threads were tight on first use. Are they easy on and off now? As I understand it, the bowl isn't intended to be nipped up tight, necessarily. In fact the whole point of multistart threads (I think this is a five-start), other than reducing the turns, is that they don't lock up like other threads can.

I also understand that the first few bowls on a Falcon can be a bit rough due to the woodstain, which is why I'd probaby look at the hunter and meer bowls if I do end up trying one.
The threads haven't really loosened up yet, and I'm certainly not snugging it down, just tight enough to marry the two pieces. I've disassembled and reassembled a few times thinking that they just needed some working. That hasn't had much effect, but I'm becoming less worried about it each time 😉

As for the bowl being a bit rough until broken in, I didn't notice any growing pains or flavor imparted by the bowl. As I said, the smoke itself was a good one 👍 I'll give it another ride a day or two with some LNF or something and see how that goes.
 

steveclarkus

Goose Poop Connoisseur
I had an uncle who smoked one constantly and it apparent never gave him any problem. Easy way to get a bunch of pipes on the cheap. That left him money for his whiskey and golf habits. I remember seeing them around back in the 60’s.
 

brandaves

With a great avatar comes great misidentification
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Second smoke today and again, a very nice smoke. I'm not noticing any break-in period for the bowl as I'm getting pure VaPer goodness. The smoke is cool and dry without any need for mid bowl pipe cleaners. The pipe itself is lightweight and an easy clencher. Best selling point for Al...it sits!

I'm still a few bowls from purchasing a meer lined bowl but thus far the smoking quality of this pipe is excellent. Batting way above it's price point anyway. Let's hope the trend continues!
 

AimlessWanderer

Contributor
Best selling point for Al...it sits!
There's another selling point for me too. Smaller bowls.

Most of my sitters are in the region of 20mm wide x 40mm deep. Pokers, panel billiards, sitting Mr Brog pipes, and other assorted table pipes tend to fall in that size territory. Same with Country Gent, Washington and Diplomat cobs. A lot of the more expensive sitters also gravitate around that bowl size.

There's not many affordable sitters that are in the region of 16/18 wide x 25/30 deep. Mizzou, Pony Express, and Huck Finn cobs are among the very few exceptions. Yes, there's the Peterson barrels and tankards, but they're on the pricey side from my perspective, at double the price I aim to buy at. A Hunter Bulldog bowl fits neatly in this category though, as do the meer lined bowls.

Having all but decided my MM Ozarks are destined for landfill, or the chiminea in the garden, and still being uncertain if my non-sitters will stay with me much longer, a Falcon is looking fairly inevitable for me.
 

AimlessWanderer

Contributor
Woodstain tainted first bowls (which Brandon doesn't seem to have suffered from), and the aesthetics, are the only two things I've ever heard complain about with Falcons. I don't think I've ever seen any grumbles about them not smoking well.
 

AimlessWanderer

Contributor
As far as looks go there isn't anything really special about the stem. It kind of seems cheap (which it is really) but also like it will get the job done (which it does). The bowl was nice, but again not special.
<snip>
I'm not blown away, but I'm also not disappointed.
This is pretty much how the first smoke in my new Falcon left me feeling too.

IMG_20201002_124000_edit.jpg

I went for the Extra stem (brown, as opposed to Brandon's black), with a curved mouthpiece. The bowl on mine being a Hunter Bulldog.

I'd steered clear of Falcons till this point, because to me, they look like they're for smoking other stuff. Getting one in hand (and in face) does absolutely nothing to change that. It does however feel like a very practical bit of kit, and that does have an appeal to me. It does everything that's needed without trying too hard to be showy or artistic.

As Brandon said in his review, a few more smokes are needed before I'm completely sold on this pipe. That said, it does solve everything I needed it to. It gives me the smaller bowled smokes, in a curved sitting format. Even though this was just the first smoke, and there's the inevitable "new pipe" taste to work though, it's instantly better for me than all the pipes I let go to make way for it, simply by virtue of it sitting. Whether this smokes as well after being broken in, and whether I expand on it with other nowls/stems, remains to be seen.
 

brandaves

With a great avatar comes great misidentification
Ambassador
This is pretty much how the first smoke in my new Falcon left me feeling too.

View attachment 1163047

I went for the Extra stem (brown, as opposed to Brandon's black), with a curved mouthpiece. The bowl on mine being a Hunter Bulldog.

I'd steered clear of Falcons till this point, because to me, they look like they're for smoking other stuff. Getting one in hand (and in face) does absolutely nothing to change that. It does however feel like a very practical bit of kit, and that does have an appeal to me. It does everything that's needed without trying too hard to be showy or artistic.

As Brandon said in his review, a few more smokes are needed before I'm completely sold on this pipe. That said, it does solve everything I needed it to. It gives me the smaller bowled smokes, in a curved sitting format. Even though this was just the first smoke, and there's the inevitable "new pipe" taste to work though, it's instantly better for me than all the pipes I let go to make way for it, simply by virtue of it sitting. Whether this smokes as well after being broken in, and whether I expand on it with other nowls/stems, remains to be seen.
Mine is still smoking well and I'm pleased thus far. I still haven't decided on another bowl yet. My hunch is that I'll invest in one eventually but not in the very near future.
 
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